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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Possessor Uncut is an intense, edgy, extremely graphic sci-fi/horror movie about a woman (Andrea Riseborough) who occupies other people's bodies to perform assassinations. The unrated uncut version (which is the one reviewed here; an R-rated cut is also available) has tons of bloody, brutal violence, including killings, stabbings, beating, gore/platter, eyeballs being pried out, fingers getting chopped off, blood vomiting, and generally creepy/scary stuff. Police shoot a Black woman fatally, and a child is shot. There's also graphic sexual content, including images of an erect penis, topless women, full-frontal male nudity, thrusting, grinding, simulated oral sex, and more. Language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and "bitch." The main character "vapes" more than once, and characters snort cocaine and drink socially. A smoking pipe is shown. Some scenes include a disorienting, flashing strobe-light effect that could be difficult for those with photosensitivity.
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What's the story?
In POSSESSOR UNCUT, a woman named Holly (Gabrielle Graham) walks through a hotel restaurant, shoots a man, and stabs him until she's spattered with blood. She then tries to shoot herself in the head and hesitates, but when the police arrive, they do the job for her. Suddenly, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) jolts awake, strapped inside a strange machine. She's an assassin who has been operating Holly's body, and her mission is now complete. Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) talks the shaken Tasya back to reality. After a visit with her estranged husband and son, Tasya decides to get back to work, taking on a new challenge. Inside the body of former drug dealer Colin (Christopher Abbott), she has three days to kill Colin's girlfriend (Tuppence Middleton) and her evil CEO father (Sean Bean). But with Tasya's psyche slowly coming unraveled, can she complete the task?
Is it any good?
Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, son of the legendary David, this graphic sci-fi/horror story doesn't have anything terribly unique to say, but it's certainly told in a powerfully disturbing way. Disappointingly, Possessor Uncut really doesn't go very far into exactly how its body-possessing technique actually works, and it doesn't seem very practical; it requires painful, bloody holes drilled in heads and constant adjusting to keep everything in sync. Likewise, the ultimate goal of murdering the CEO and his daughter is largely pointless compared to Tasya's bizarre, soul-threatening journey.
The younger Cronenberg sets a challenge for himself to find ways to visualize Tasya's inner torment. A powerful and timely opening sequence gets things off with a gut-punch. Possessor Uncut also uses unexpected colors and patterns throughout, disturbing make-up effects (melting flesh, etc.), and, every so often, a disorienting, flashing strobe-light effect (sensitive viewers probably shouldn't watch this). Riseborough really commits to her deeply physical, punishing performance; she's in so deep that it's possible to feel her presence even when you're watching Abbot. Veteran actor Leigh (who was also in David Cronenberg's eXistenZ) matches Riseborough, providing a bit of sinister backstory for the assassin business with nothing more than the tone of her voice.
Talk to your kids about ...
How is sex portrayed here? What values are imparted?
Do you think being able to "enter" another person's body would be a useful thing? What positive ways could it be used?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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